Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reindeer Art - Last Minute Activity!

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.... and I'm loving it!

We only have 1 more day left & we have been busy, busy, busy...  Up to our eyeballs in crafts, and having so much fun getting ready for the holidays.

So much fun for most of us... sadly, the stomach bug and the dreaded FLU have both reared their ugly heads in my school this week, and the kids are dropping like flies. 

Bellyaches, pukers, fevers... no fun at all, and I'm THIS close to wearing a haz-mat suit to school tomorrow.


Anyhoo, we did this super fun activity today & I just had to share with you...

Our art teacher made these with the kids last year, and they just turned out so darn cute, I had to try recreating the awesomeness this year. I'm not sure where the original idea came from, but if it's somewhere out there, and deserves a shout out, please let me know....

Warning - I am NO art teacher -  I just had to wing it. But, check out our Watercolor Reindeer!
This activity is LOW prep...
White construction paper (the construction paper works a lot better than regular copy paper, just FYI)
Black & white crayons

 We did this as a guided art activity whole group & I presented the steps on the Document Camera, modeling each step and having them do it along with me on their own paper,
but you could also present the steps using these pictures below, or in a small group.

 This was their FAVORITE part.... they were just so excited when they snowflakes "magically" appeared!
And I loved how different they all turned out... 
I just had to keep repeating - more water, less paint...more water, less paint...
Total time - about 30 minutes!

To be honest, this was our very first project with watercolors this year, and I was so proud!!

Just take a gander at all this cuteness!!
There are 15 paintings here... I have 22 children.
You do the math.

The Haz-Mat suit is looking more & more appealing.

Anyway, my teacher neighbor was smart enough to think ahead & buy cheap plastic picture frames from the DollarTree to send these home as gifts, and they turned out BEAUTIFULLY!!

I think the parents will love these as is, but next year, I'm definitely buying the frames. :)

So, that's it for me tonight... hope you are surviving the craziness that is the last week before Christmas break, and you are soaking up all the fun & fabulous memories.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kidnapped by Christmas... and a Fraction Freebie!

Yep, it's true, I have been kidnapped by Christmas...or at least it feels that way.
I think it's got to be that Thanksgiving came so late this year, but the Christmas holiday is coming WAY too fast, and my "to-do" list just keeps getting longer.

Until last night, I had no wrapped one single gift. So, I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. wrapping and I'm still not done. It's just craziness...

      Shopping...Christmas cards....crafts....
 oh, and then there was the dead car battery thanks to a valet who turned my automatic headlights ON....... the flat, I mean destroyed, tire due to a giant piece of metal in the road...and a flooded kitchen... and I feel like I've barely had time to breathe....

It's true folks, I've been kidnapped by Christmas, which means....

I haven't blogged in almost a (gasp!) month!

So, since I made a little headway in the wrapping department, I decided to show this little ole blog of mine some love & get on here. 

After finishing up our fun unit on 2D and 3D shapes, where we made our Shape Pizzas, we moved into a study of fractions....

In first grade, the focus is on halves and fourths, so to really put some hands-on practice into the mix, I found these little cans of play-doh at the Dollar Tree...and some plastic knives.
There's 8 tee-tiny little cans in this pack for $1 and they were the perfect size for making little balls for our fraction activity.

The kids just took out their playdoh & made a flat shape... *most made a circle*, and then we used our little knives to divide our shapes into EQUAL parts :)

Excuse the nastiness on the desks...needless to say, we have been doing a LOT of crafting & gluing lately, and some of my little friends are not so careful with the glue sticks... :)

Anyway, we continued this a few times, & then the kids made SOLID shapes to divide equally.

Super easy and CHEAP activity - $4 for the whole class & they got to keep their playdoh for more practice later and for a fun little prize for their hard work!

When we finished, the kids completed the first sheet in my packet of fraction practice...
Just simple worksheets to assess understanding, and they literally take maybe 5 minutes to complete..

You can grab the whole pack (5 worksheets) here for FREE....just because you stopped by despite the fact that I have been MIA forever! haha! Just click the picture :)
The last one in the pack (the one shown on top) is a cut and paste. The kids divide the paper into 3 sections, cut out & paste the headers and then sort and glue the shapes to show they can identify 
halves, fourths and wholes.

Lastly, we made our annual Gingerbread Ornaments....
I know a lot of folks make the ones where they bake them, and all that, but we make the simple ones...
the ones that are quick and easy..
two words that are music to my ears this time of year!

They are NOT edible, despite every single kid asking to eat one.

But, they are cute.

All you need is ONE GIANT bottle of applesauce.
6-7 containers of cinnamon. This size.
 Wax paper
Cookie Cutter.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. 
Roll it out on wax paper - you may need to sprinkle a little water in there to get it to the right consistency - and then have the kids come and cut them out.

I  use a straw to punch the hole out to hang the ornament. 
If you wait, you can't do it.
Then, stick pony beads or anything in for the buttons, and you're done!

Let dry for about 4 days and they're ready to go! 
Cute & Easy :)

So, that's it for me, friends....
    That wrapping paper is calling my name..AND I haven't even addressed one Christmas card,. Oh, and work tomorrow... can't forget that important little thing :)

Hope everyone is doing wonderfully and LOVING the Christmas season. Even though I feel like I've been taken hostage, I honestly wouldn't change it for the world.

I love Christmas...every single thing...even the madness....
   It really IS the most wonderful time of the year :)

Much love to you all !

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like .... Shopping!

Yes, my friends, it's that time of year...
    time for family, friends, food, and fun... and of course, shopping!!!!

I'll admit it, I'm usually a Black Friday shopper. Well, I'm a Black Friday browser. I honestly don't usually buy a lot but there's just something about getting out and about with all the crazy that makes it feel like the season. The past few years, my mom & I have done the "midnight madness", and last year, I sat on the floor... yes ON the FLOOR of a WalMart for 2 hours to get a TV.

I think that might have done it for me. WalMart.  Floor.  Yeah, you get the idea. 

But, I did get an awesome TV for MB, and yeah, I tend to bring that up every once in a while just in case my sacrifice for upgraded, fancy television viewing has been forgotten. 

This year, we're not foraging our way out into the cold with the masses, but we are heading out at a normal hour and doing a little piddlin' around. Cute little boutiques and antique shops where we might find some treasures...and where the nutballs that come out of the woodwork might NOT be..  :)

That all being said, my favorite day to shop?? 

I mean, no lines? no grown ups acting like tantrum-throwing children over a blender?  no worn out, exhausted sales people?  Ain't nobody got time for that!

What, oh what, did I do before the Internet??

Anywhooo.... TpT has answered the call for Cyber Monday goodness with a fabulous SALE!

Yes, yes,... it could be said that MOST of the goodness this sale brings is self-indulgent. I mean, don't we all want and need new stuff for our classrooms? But, you could get something for your favorite teacher friend.... Buy an extra license & save all the awesomeness to a CD wrapped up just for them... I think I would LOVE that!

So, I'm linking up with Ideas by Jivey to share some of my favorite feedback on some of my most popular products, and the fabulous finds on my own wish list!

All of my products will be 20% off on Monday & Tuesday... plus the discount from TpT & you can get it all for 28% off! Whoop! Whoop!

Two of my best sellers are...
 My monthly homework packets. 
4 weeks of nightly homework PLUS reading comprehension for the whole month!
Check out my favorite feedback...
 Product #2 is my monthly Guided Math Centers.... they are a great way to incorporate Guided Math into your classroom and addressing all the components to it :)
 Thank you to everyone who has been so kind as to leave such thoughtful and productive feedback. I can't tell you how much it's appreciated! Oh, and if you notice YOUR feedback in this post, email me so I can get you a freebie prize :)

Now, onto MY want ..I mean, WISH list.  
That thing is in the triple digits, friends... TRIPLE digits..
There's just so much FABULOUSness out there....

Christina from Sugar & Spice has this amazing packet of Text-Based Evidence Reading Passages. Her fall edition is on TpT now, and it even includes passages about Christmas, so it's a must have, and I absolutely can't wait to get my little hands on it! It is such an amazing resource to teach reading strategies through nonfiction text!! 

The always amazing Lisa at Growing Firsties has her Building Star Readers pack on TpT that I want..want...want! I have her Finding Proof pack and it is AMAZEballs!  Can you tell I have reading on the brain??  I've got to get my kiddos to start comprehending what they read!

And lastly, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from Melonheadz... seriously, I could spend a fortune in this store alone!

So, that's it, friends....  get your carts ready & don't forget to enter the code for the extra discount. And, if you have some fabulous finds you'd like to share, head on over to Ideas by Jivey & link up!

And before I go... I just can't miss an opportunity to share my Thankful-ness, so...

    I'm thankful for my faith & God's grace...
        for my family....
           for my friends....
              for my job.... and all the wonderful babies I get to work with every single day..
                 for my health, and for all the goodness that surrounds me..

   And, I'm also thankful for YOU.  If you don't get told enough, THANK YOU... for reading this little ole' blog, for all your sweet comments, for your friendships, for your kindness, and for doing ALL you do for children. YOU are amazing, and, whether or not you get told enough, there are a LOT of folks out there thankful for YOU! :)

  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five for Friday & December Homework

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!
The clouds have parted and the the angels are singing - it's officially Thanksgiving Break!!
Woo hoo!!! :)

We had such a crazy, fun and super fast week, but I am so stinkin' excited that we are out of school for a week!  But, can it be true that when we go back it will be December??  Holy moly, this year is just flying by!

It's been a while since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday, but since I'm in the mood for celebrating...and because we've really done some fun stuff this week... I just had to join in the fun!

Okay, let's get this party started!! ! :)

 Contraction Pop!!!
I got this FABULOUS idea from Heather at Heather's Heart.

We have been studying contractions, and when I found this, I just KNEW my kiddos would love it. The song we sing tells us that the contractions POP out!

So, I blew up 22 balloons...each one labeled with two words on the outside, and the contraction rolled up on the inside. The kids took turns sitting...jumping...bouncing...on the balloons to make the contraction 
So much fun!!  The kids were laughing & having a blast. And the best part?
They got it!! 
And it was my formal observation (eek!), but it all turned out well :)
 Shape Pizzas!!!
Our math focus this week has been on flat, 2D shapes. 
Our culminating activity was to make Shape Pizzas!

We had just read Turkey Trouble, where the turkey dresses up like a pizza delivery guy at the end of the story to avoid getting eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. So, we decided we needed to make pizzas for Mr. Turkey to deliver to the farmers! :)

You can read the original post about this fun activity <HERE>.
 Pigeons or Turkeys?  The perfect disguise!
This idea comes from Linda at Around the Kampfire.
She has the cutest packet on TpT that includes all kinds of awesome writing activities for this.

We already had been working on the pigeon books with our 4 Sentences Unit (the original blog post last year about this unit can be found <here>)

So, this was a perfect way to bring it all together - pigeons AND turkeys!

We talked about different disguises for Mr. Turkey, and decided that a pigeon would be a PERFECT disguise. I mean, who eats a pigeon for Thanksgiving dinner?

So, we took our pigeons from our sentences study & made them into turkeys!! 
Hilarious!!! :)

 Thanksgiving Celebrations!!
 Today was our big Thanksgiving Celebration!  In lieu of our traditional feast, we decided to stick with a simple snack. One of my WONDERFUL parents made these SUPER cute cornucopias out of waffle cones & we filled them with runts ('cause they look like fruit!), and some corn chex, m&m's ('cause you gotta have chocolate!), and juice boxes. How cute is this?!?!  

I'm definitely thankful for amazing parents....and for Pinterest!! :)
Then, we had our annual performance with the Kindergarten. 

The K students dress up like Native Americans, & we represent the Pilgrims.
Each group sings 4 songs, and it was just absolutely precious.
And yes, these ARE the CUTEST pilgrims in the world!  

They did such an amazing job, too. I wish you could see their sweet faces, but it was just a fun, sweet day for everyone. And, the kids always get a kick out of their "costumes"...i.e. construction paper hats and collars.  The little bonnets always get me :)
 December Homework is UP and EARLY....well maybe.... too!!!
I worked on my new December homework packet all week, so I could TRY and get it up in time for everyone. I'm a day late because I had really wanted to get it posted yesterday before most (??) of us got out for the break, but I did get it up today!  

It's the 5th monthly set, and the reviews have been so kind.
I am HUGELY thankful to all of you for previewing, downloading, purchasing, and leaving such sweet words of encouragement. I hope you enjoy this month's set.

If you haven't checked this out, it includes homework for all four weeks of December...with 4 nights for each week PLUS a reading comprehension passage for each week, too. And, it's all Common Core aligned.

You can download the preview at TpT & it comes with a free week's worth of homework so you can see what you think!

So, that's it, Five for FRIDAY!!!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by.
I also want to take the time to say a big THANK YOU to all of you....

....for following this little ole' blog of mine
....for being amazing friends and colleagues that I learn SO much from
...for EVERY single thing you do each and EVERY day for children
....and for just being YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! 
(a little early, but hey, I'm in the spirit!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Take Me Back Tuesday - Even Street & Odd Avenue

The fabulous Hope King at Second Grade Shenanigans is hosting an awesome "Take Me Back Tuesday" linky & I just had to join in. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back through my blog to remind myself of activities we have done for certain standards. It's like my own little memory album!

And now that Hope has created this linky, we can get a little glimpse into all of our favorite blogger's best memories, too. I just LOVE finding new ideas, and revisiting ones I have been meaning to do!

So, here's a blast from the past.... Originally posted 3/18/13.  Our curriculum map changed this year, so instead of working on place value with even and odd in the spring, we have been working on it this month. This post reminded me of a great activity for reviewing and bringing this all together.... Here you go!


...We have been working on place value & even/odd numbers. I found the cutest activity on Pinterest.  Thanks to Tiffany at The Lemonade Stand for the awesome inspiration :)

We have been working with hundreds, tens and ones & counting to 120 using our base ten blocks.

We read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs ( I LOVE when I can incorporate literature into math!!)
We talked about the strongest and weakest houses & compared them.  Then, we used manipulatives (base ten blocks) to make our own withstand the powerful sneeze of the Big Bad Wolf!
Next, we used paper versions of our base ten blocks to create our houses..  I gave them 1 rule: They could not use more than NINE of any one type of block.

I think they turned out awesome!

Then, we figured out our "address"... using the number of hundreds, tens & ones it took to build the house. 
They wrote it on a sticky & then on a label for their house.

The kiddos LOVED this!!  They kept talking about THEIR house wouldn't blow down :)

So, today, we moved into our study of Odd & Even.  We read Even Steven and Odd Todd & sorted our numbers...

The kids then had to highlight their "address" to indicate even or odd.
Lastly, we created Odd Street & Even Avenue in our hallway.  Too cute!

In hindsight, I really should have put these in numerical order (and will probably do that tomorrow), but for now, I think it turned out great. The kids loved every minute of it & were even telling people in the hallway to come check out our "neighborhood". haha :)

We finished up our math lesson today with a cut & paste for Odd Todd & Even Steven...
This, along with the Odd Todd & Even Steven posters... AND a sorting math center...can be found in my Even & Odd pack on TpT :) Just click the picture to go & get it !!

As always, thanks for stopping by & I hope you had a great Monday day! I thought I'dleavee you with a little funny, so here's today's favorite...
Hee hee! Ain't it the truth?? ;) But, I keep telling myself that NEXT Monday, I don't have to set an alarm or anything...Ahhhh.. I'm ready for the break :)

Have a good one, folks :)